Catholic Campus Ministry lends hand to inner city needy
Recently eight BU students from the Campus Catholic Ministry participated in a weekend service learning immersion experience to Philadelphia, a community service opportunity coordinated by Gina Fanelli, a senior mass communications major.
The students began the trip with Mass at the CCM Newman House Chapel before traveling to the Provincialate of Sisters of the Holy Redeemer where they stayed for the weekend. Service learning was integrated into the weekend as students watched videos and engaged in lively discussions on global poverty, hunger and the power of forgiveness.
“I learned the importance of not only helping those most in need, but also helping of educating myself about social justice to more effectively serve,” Maria Eboli, a sophomore speech pathology major said.
The group served the homeless and hungry at the Old First Reformed Church at Fourth and Race Streets, then distributed much needed clothing to those in need.
“No home, no income, quite often empty stomachs…that is every day for many people,” Agnieszka Charymska, M.B.A. graduate student, wrote. “Even though they struggle for survival, they keep high spirits and optimism.”
After a bag lunch at Penn’s Landing, the group went to Philabundance, which weekly distributes food to more than 65,000 individuals facing food insecurity across the Delaware Valley. They packed more than 3,000 pounds of lettuce as part of a 28,000 pound donation of fresh produce.
After a quick break, they joined the assembly line to sort and pack over 5,500 pounds of food into 30 pound boxes.
“Philabundance depends on volunteers to serve,” Chris Perez shared. “I only saw three full-time workers while we were there. It can be easy to imagine that giving money is enough to fulfill our obligation to the poor, but after this experience, I know that donation of time is just as important.”
On Sunday, the group went to Mass at Saint Peter the Apostle Church at the National Shrine of Saint John Neumann. Then they divided into two groups. One group volunteered at a nursing home while the other group went to serve at a thrift store.
“This experience to Philadelphia has truly been a humbling experience,” Jack Kelly, sophomore secondary education mathematics major, observed. “I learned we truly need to help one another.”
The students raised more than $1,000 to pay for their expenses and utilized Husky Funds to pay for van usage. They used a discernment process to decide to donate $250 to help the homeless at the Old First Reformed Church and $200 to help the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer ministering in Tanzania, Africa.
“There are so many injustices in our world,” Erin Schumaker, a sophomore speech pathology major said. “We might not be able to change the world all at once, but we can change one person’s world.”
Summing up the weekend, Angie Rock, a junior elementary education/special education major said, “I would say the best word to describe this experience is unbelievable. I spoke to many people and learned more than I could ever imagine. It made me realize that it is important to never take anything for granted.”
— Sister Debbie Borneman, SS.C.M., who along with Father Jeff Thoms, joined the students on the service trip.